Kariba Power Plant might be imminently shutdown. This comes at a time when there are proposals for the urgent setting up of floating solar panels on the lake which could easily generate in excess of 1 000 Megawatts of electricity. Lake Kariba which is designed to operate between 475.50metre and 488.50metre levels for hydropower generation continues to experience a decline in water levels.
Zimbabwe and Zambia face an imminent power generation shut down at Kariba Hydroelectric Plant by January due to a drastic fall in water levels. The latest figures show that the water level declined to 476.99m as of the 5th of this month raising concerns that there might not be any usable water for power generation by end of December and early January.
Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Chief Executive Officer, Munyaradzi Munodawafa highlighted that the hydrological situation remains dire indicating a possible shut down of power generation by January.
“We could drastically, drastically reduce to the extent of even shutting down Kariba. We are still calculating so that we can present the extent figures to the governments but l do not see anything good coming out,” he expressed concern.
According to the Authority, a proposal has been put forward for the setting up of floating solar panels on the lake which could easily generate over 1 000MW. “We need to see how quickly we can come up with solar energy at the lake. Our preliminary investigations points to the fact that we might generate plus 1 000MW using the floating solar panels,” he added.
Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Advocate Fortune Chasi and Zambia’s Minister of Energy, Mathew Nkhuwa say there is need for the two countries to explore other sources of energy.
“We can only hope that we get more rains but to fill up the Kariba Dam will take up to three years. We have a huge challenge and we need to do better by introducing other sources of energy,” Zambia’s Energy Minister said.
“You need a good mix of energy and what both countries are doing is to look at alternative energy sources. We will take advantage of all the resources that we have in our country to ensure energy security,” Advocate Chasi explained.
According to experts, it will take three good rainy seasons to fill the Kariba dam. The current low water levels at Kariba are attributed to the drought that hit the Southern African Region.
Source – ZBC News
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